AMD 785G Chipset Launch: ASUS and Gigabyte
ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO: Features
The northbridge heatsink is actually a two-piece unit. The dark gray bottom piece is attached to the northbridge and the blue accent piece is in turn attached to it. The blue accent piece actually slides into the bottom piece and isn't fixed by anything; it's relatively loose and has some room to slide around and can be removed entirely. This means it only makes token contact with the bottom piece and likely doesn't have much affect on the heatsink's overall thermal properties. However, it does look pretty cool and the thermal contact issue could be easily alleviated with the application of some thermal adhesive.
Overall ASUS did a good job with the M4A785TD-V EVO's layout. The CPU socket is free of obstructions and there is plenty of room in nearly all directions for a large CPU cooler. The memory slots are placed a bit close to the CPU socket, but this won't likely be an issue unless all four memory slots are occupied, since the slots are arranged in such a way that dual-channel can be achieved with DIMMs in just the blue slots.
Interestingly the M4A785TD-V EVO uses a 4-pin 12V power connector instead of a more typical 8-pin. It's located at the top corner of the board neat the rear I/O, right above the MOSFET heatsink. Its location is well selected and shouldn't present any wire routing issues.
All five of the board's internal SATA connectors are located in a tight cluster under the DIMM slots. All five of them are also oriented conventionally so the cables would all connect perpendicular to the PCB. This is desirable in most builds since there is a reduced chance the SATA connectors will be obstructed by a hard drive cage or other chassis structure.
All of the board's USB and Firewire headers are located along the bottom edge of the board, a typical location which should work well in most cases. The IDE connector is located right under the southbridge and oriented horizontally, which is advantageous since a vertically oriented IDE connector may result in the flat ribbon IDE cable interfering with installed expansion cards.
Overall, despite some minor issues, the M4A785TD-V EVO's layout is excellent and it is clear some thought has gone into accommodating typical builds.